ON the stand of Belgian 19th century pictures dealers Berko Fine Paintings at Maastricht I was admiring a handsome new Berko-published book 19th Century European Virtuoso Painters when I noticed nearby the identical volume, but written in Chinese.
Viviane Berko, who with her husband Patrick owns the business, wrote the book herself over two years when she was laid up with a badly damaged leg and explained the Chinese connection.
Based at Knokke in Belgium, the Berkos opened a gallery in Shanghai in 2008, which is run by their children Maximin and Irina, and Viviane told me “The Chinese increasingly are buying 19th century European paintings and the Shanghai gallery is doing very well”.
So well that when she completed the book around a year ago she had it translated into Mandarin in Shanghai and simultaneously published in China.
Is this the first 19th century European art book to have a Chinese edition?
It costs €150 or in China 860RMB.